No chance in the world for Barrow?
Currently in a bit of a mess I know currently. But as it stands we are having to pay half a million debt off and raise 100k in one season for flood lights. Added to the fact we have had to improve our squad quite considerably due to the big step between CC1 and CC and have had to go 5 weeks without a home game in the middle of the season it's no wonder why we are struggling, I doubt most clubs would of been able to deal with what we are currently.
It obviously wouldn't be do able now to step up to full time now as we need to get our house in order which I feel the BOD are working very hard to do. But let's say in 2 - 3 years time if the half a million debt is gone, we have got the new flood lights and have built up an established CC team.
A catchment area of 80k, we own our own ground, have a decent amateur game behind us and have no SL club to cherry pick us like other CC clubs fear.
The obvious point is about attendances which you pointed out we are averaging 1000. The main factor is really that the CC is such a hard sell and we are being forced to focus on other aspects on the club rather than marketing. From a floating fan point of you why would you go watch the CC? It's so repetitive and you don't feel the club is going anywhere. The town can get behind a sports team and deliver 3k crowds. Both the soccer and RL have manages 3k when they feel the club's are going somewhere, when they realised that they realistically arnt any time soon they dropped off. Also we got 6700 against Wigan in 09 (many don't believe that figure) we took 2000 to Saints and the soccer have took 10k to Sunderland, Wembley and Middlesborough so there is potential for Barrow to get behind a sports side.
I'm not deluded enough to think that crowds would instantly rise to 5k if we went full time in a sport which has some form of p and r (unlike others, not naming names) but there maybe a way to get Barrow to go full time progressively maybe starting with half the squad and building the club up as we have more of a product to sell.
Not saying that Barrow could definitely go full time instantly or in the immediate future, but I think it would be unfair to write them off completely to do so in some form of a second tier.
You know the local area so I'll accept your figures; they're certainly not as fanciful as some have speculated on here (again, no names).
You allude to a key point though here: the only real way to have sustainable P&R is by developing the second tier clubs to the point where promotion to Super League is a natural progression, rather than a speculative leap into the unknown.
With this in mind, the only logical step I can see is for the licensing process to be rolled out to the Championship.
Speaking purely as a fan (so please don't pick too many holes out of my figures!), here's a rough guide to how I'd like to see this achieved:
1) Announce that from 2015 Super League is to be cut to 12 teams (10 UK, 2 France).
2) Licenses for a 10-team Championship are also announced. The three teams dropping down from Super League would most likely be joined by Fev, Fax, Sheffield and three others (not necessarily those currently in the Championship) for what could potentially be a very intense comp in its own right.
3) Allowing for some form of parachute payment in year one for the three demoted clubs, the £2.4million*
saved by dropping Super League is redistributed between the 10 license holders. The proviso being that some of the money is ring fenced in order to cover the cost of key off-field positions.
4) The additional £240k per club could then be used to assist clubs in employing a full-time squad of young British players, in readiness for a move up to Super League**.
5) After a short bedding in period (1-2 years) in order to enable the clubs to build infrastructure and become stabilised, one-up, one-down promotion to Super League is reinstated.
6) We then turn our attention to developing the clubs in CC1 with the intention of opening up two further Championship licenses and the ultimate aim of reopening P&R between CC and CC1.
It's hypothetical, and I'm sure some of you will love picking holes in this plan, but I think this is a decent route towards sustainable P&R.
* if the French do negotiate their own TV deal that could
free up more central funding.
** structuring the central funding in a way that encourages clubs to run with young British talent whilst limiting imports (ie, one per club) could actually aid the promoted clubs as they could retain the core of their Championship side but augment it with overseas talent as and when they gain promotion to Super League.
OK, I've stuck my head above the parapet, feel free to shoot me down.